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Home / Tips and Tricks / Best home security in 2019: Professional surveillance, home improvement systems, video doorbells and more

Best home security in 2019: Professional surveillance, home improvement systems, video doorbells and more


Chris Monroe / CNET

After about a decade of app-enabled upheaval, the category of home security is booming. In addition to professional surveillance systems that have been around for decades there is a newly established bumper with less expensive DIY systems that you can install yourself along with cameras, smart locks and ] Video doorbells which are also worth considering. Even big names like Amazon and Google want to join.

Admittedly, there is a great deal to do ̵

1; and today's home security system vendors do not always make it easy to compare the shop, to say the least.

But here we come into play – not just by testing these systems on the CNET Smart Home, but by evaluating the entire buying process and scrutinizing other important factors – including The privacy concerns go along with the filling of your home with cloud cameras.

Read on to get an overview of the best home security systems we've tested, including self-installable DIY kits, professionally installed systems that promise to automate your entire home, and standalone devices such as video doorbells.

Read More : Nest vs. Ring Vs. Abode vs. SimpliSafe: The Smart Home Security Systems with the Best Privacy Guidelines

Best Home Security We Have Tested [19659009] Best DIY System SimpliSafe 230 USD in advance Monitoring starts at $ 15 per month and $ 25 per month, including mobile app controls and integration with Alexa. View online Best Professional Installation System Comcast Xfinity Home $ 99 in advance Monitoring costs $ 40 a month in the first year, then $ 50 a month. Bundle discounts with TV and internet available. View online Best Video Doorbell Nest Hello 230 USD in advance Continuous record from $ 5 per month. View online Ideal for part-time monitoring Stay $ 299 in advance Monitoring available for $ 20 per month. View Online

Installing Systems Yourself

If a professionally-installed system sounds like overkill, you can save a lot of money by purchasing a system that you install yourself. For my money, systems like these offer some of the best values ​​for your home security dollar.

You do not miss much in terms of functionality. Although professionally-installed systems may offer a fancier touch-screen control panel for working with security cameras, sensors, alarm systems, and monitors, the rest of the hardware is much the same as what you get when you're home-based and rely mainly on wireless devices, battery-powered Sensors that hold you around your house.

Read More: The Best DIY Security Systems of 2019

When DIY systems emerged as a cost-effective alternative to the professionals, few, if any, option came for professional surveillance or customer service , That is no longer the case. Most handyman systems now offer the option of professional surveillance – and most of them require less professional supervision than professional installation security vendors. Automation and smart home appliances have helped reduce the overhead of third-party professional monitoring, resulting in savings that are passed on to you. And the fact that most home improvement systems do not require a service contract or monthly fees is another nice part of the playing field.

Chris Monroe / CNET

SimpliSafe's easy-to-install, easy-to-use system is well positioned as one of the best home security systems. It offers a full set of features, surveillance cameras and a very good mix of battery powered sensors, all of which have performed reliably in our tests. Starter kits start at around $ 230, or you can create your own custom system with the exact set of devices you're interested in-per-month plan that includes features such as mobile app control and voice support via Alexa and the Google Assistants added. This also means that you should make another choice, eg. For example, Abode or Ring if you do not want professional monitoring but still want to control your system through a smartphone app. Total CNET Score: 8.5

Read the full review.

One more thing to watch out for: all-in-one home security appliances designed for smaller homes and living spaces. Basically, these devices are single-point desktop cameras equipped with additional motion detectors and temperature and ambient light sensors. They are well suited for a studio apartment that has neither a garage door nor many street windows to protect it.

names to consider are Canary Honeywell and the Abode Iota – although our favorite of the group, Piper is no longer on the market, after Alarm.com bought its parent company in 2016 . If we find another alternative that we like as much as we like, I will update that area.

Abode's excellent DIY system is worth considering.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Other Options We Have Tested

Our best SimpliSafe alternative, Abode's Sophisticated System, supports both ZigBee and Z-Wave. It works with Alexa, IFTTT and Nest and has recently improved its integration with the Google Assistant too. The real plus, however, is that Abode offers a lot of flexibility in terms of professional monitoring – including the option of paying only for temporary surveillance when you are actually out of town. No long-term contract required. Total CNET Score: 8.3

Read the full review.

This Nest-owned DIY installation option works well, but the $ 399 upfront cost is much higher than its predecessor. It's a decent system, but it's only worth it if you want to integrate into a Google Smart Home ecosystem. Total CNET Score: 7.2

Read the full review.

Ring's Alarm Security Kit, a subsidiary of Amazon, is quick to install and easy to use. Apart from a new "Works with Ring" program that integrates compatible Smart Locks and other third-party gadgets, this is not particularly innovative. However, Alexa users will appreciate that they can use voice commands to enable and disable the system so that they can use Rings sensors to trigger Alexa routines. With buy-in costs of $ 199 and professional supervision for only $ 10 a month, Ring Alarm is a great choice. Total CNET Score: 7.5

Read the full review.

Professionally Installed Systems

These are the cornerstones of home security – company names like ADT and Brinks, with which you've probably been familiar for years, along with home security systems offered by major telecoms providers like Comcast and AT & T become .

The pitch is quite similar across the board. In addition to basics like motion sensors, window sensors, and door sensors, this kind of professional installation also promises to curb false alarms and seamlessly integrate things like door locks, cameras, keyboards, thermostats, and touchscreens. Also often supports voice controls via Alexa and the Google Assistant. Most require an upfront fee for equipment or installation and most require multiyear service contracts. The monthly fees for the professional supervision are obligatory and are usually between 30 and 50 US-Dollar per month.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

It's not available in all regions (check local availability), but Comcast Xfinity Home impressed us as CNET Senior Editor Josh Goldman tested the system at his home in northern New Jersey. It's a rugged, well thought-out system that works well with your smart home equipment, including longtime favorites such as Lutron Caseta light switches and the Nest Thermostat. "What Xfinity Home has shown me," wrote Josh, "was how smart home devices are much more useful when fully integrated with the sensors and cameras of a home security system."

You get the best value when you're ready You're ready to bundle Xfinity Home with Comcast's Internet and TV service, but you can also use it as a stand-alone service. I also appreciated that the sales approach was less intrusive and helpful than the competition when I called them for testing (I could get an offer for my home in about 10 minutes and the only personal information I gave was a zip code ). Total CNET Score: 8.5

Read the full review.

High-end systems like these sometimes make it difficult to compare companies. For example, if you visit the ADT website, you will find a lot of marketing text that demonstrates the value of the security company's different security offerings and services – but you will not find much in terms of pricing. Instead, the site directs you to request a "free quote" by either calling the security company's sales force or providing your name, zip code, phone number, and e-mail address. The latter ensures that an ADT customer service specialist "calls you from time to time for ADT offers." If you read the fine print, you will find that these calls are "provisioned" using automatic dialing technology.

Mind you, ADT is hardly alone here. Some are less outrageous than others, but you'll find similar tactics and fine print on almost every website for professionally installed alarm systems like this . If it is not clear on the website what a system created for your home would cost you, it's best to call the security company directly, tell them what kind of setup you want, and request a quote.

Your experience may vary depending on the seller you're talking to. When I tried to call ADT for the first time, the seller told me that he could not make me an offer without first conducting a credit check . I politely ended the conversation and called back another day. I had a much better experience with a salesperson who gave me a core system price within 10 minutes without the need for a credit check or other sharing of personal information.

Purchase for a professional system

Basic costs Monthly Costs Contract duration How long did it take me to get this information when I called? What personal information did I have to provide to obtain it?
ADT $ 129 ($ 229 for a system with a doorbell camera) $ 47 ($ 67 for a system with a doorbell camera) 3 years The first attempt would not make an offer without a credit check, the second attempt took 10 minutes No
AT & T Digital Life $ 550 installation fee $ 40 2 years Easily available on the website No
Brinks $ 399 installation fee $ 29 3 years Easily available on the website No
Comcast Xfinity Home $ 99 installation fee (not applicable if bundled with TV and internet) 40 USD for the first year, then 50 USD (175 USD in the package with TV and Internet) 2 years 10 minutes postcode
Vivint $ 99 installation fee $ 40 plus funded equipment costs (for a bare-bones setup about $ 10 a month for 60 months) No 17 minutes No

Whatever you call, do not be afraid to set your foot above your privacy. Companies that use robocalls and junk mail as a sales tactic have no right to your address or other personal information until they have earned their business, period.

Aside from this limitation, the benefit of alarm systems like this is that professionals come to you to install everything for you, and you can usually expect a higher level of hands-on technical support and customer service if you ever want to Make changes to your setup as well. Choose a professional system from a telecommunications provider, and you can probably bundle your home security with your TV or Internet service. This is a convenience that can also help you get a discount.


Vivint's system works well, but the equipment is not cheap.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Other Options We Have Tested

Vivint is a solid system that has worked well in testing, but the equipment is a bit expensive. A basic starter kit with the mandatory touch screen control panel, a motion sensor and two entry-level sensors costs $ 599, which you can pay in advance or spread over 60 months. Do you want to add cameras to avoid false alarms? In addition to the additional cost of the equipment, another $ 5 will be added to your bill each month. A nice thing with Vivint: no contracts. Total CNET score: 7.6

Read the full review.

It's not cheap, but we liked this lean system and the fact that uncomplicated pricing was available online. Our service professionals optimized the signal strength for each device in our setup during the installation – a nice touch that has helped make the Pro approach worthwhile. Total CNET Score: 8.3

Read the full review.

Video Doorbells

If you do not need a complete security system and instead only want to keep an eye on activities at your door, you should install a video doorbell to ensure surveillance.

Read More: The Best Video Doorbells of 2019

You have many options right now, and thanks to automation, all alerts are sent to your mobile phone in real time or a smart device if anyone call to show you who is at the door. Some also track unexpected moves or enable bidirectional audio – and we see many new options that can recognize faces as well . This includes our top tip:

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Nest's stylish video doorbell passed our tests. Features such as person detection and geofencing are helpful and easy to use. You can also upgrade to Nest Aware's cloud subscription service to enable face recognition and access to stored records.

This is obviously the best for households that have already committed to it. The smart home ecosystem of Google and Nest, but the doorbell of Nest also works with Alexa and IFTTT, which contributes to nearly every one of them is a very solid choice. Total CNET Score: 8.5

Read the full review.

Prices for doorbells like these are usually between $ 100 and $ 250, and most require an optional fee for displaying stored video clips. To choose one, you first need to find out if your front door has a hard-wired doorbell connection or if you need something battery-powered. Then consider functions – eg. B. Do you have a porch at night, or do you need something with night vision?

From there, decide which smart home platforms your doorbell should work with. On this page you will find many options that work with Alexa and IFTTT as well as with Google and / or Nest. Siri is still catching up – the only HomeKit-compatible video doorbell we've ever recorded is the Netatmo Welcome which debuted at CES last January.

Comparison of intelligent doorbells

August View doorbell camera Video doorbell 2 Bell Video Doorbell Pro Nest Hello video doorbell
Price $ 230 $ 199 $ 249 $ 229
Color paint Black, Red, White, Blue, Brass, Satin Nickel, Night Gray, Bronze satined nickel, Venetian (both versions included) satined nickel, Venetian, black satin, pearl white white and black
current source Replaceable battery Hardwired or replaceable battery Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1920x1440p HD 1920x1080p HD 1920x1080p HD 1,600 x 1,200 p HD
field No information 160 degrees 160 degrees 160 degrees
live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
cloud storage Yes, free basic package plus 15-day storage for $ 3 per month and 30-day storage for $ 5 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $ 3 a month Yes, 60-day storage for $ 3 a month Yes, free 3-hour image history. continuous admission from $ 5 per month
Local storage No. No. No. No.
Mobile App Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web application No. Yes Yes Yes
night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warnings movement movement movement Movement, Person, Face Recognition (with Nest Aware)
activity zones No. Yes Yes Yes (with Nest Aware)
Dimensions (HxWxD) 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.3 inches 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches 4.5 × 1.9 × 0.8 inches 4.6 x 1.7 x 1.0 inches
Third-party integrations Alexa; Google Assistant; nest Alexa; IFTTT; to wink Alexa; IFTTT; to wink Alexa; Google Assistant; nest
Operating temperature range
-4 to 122 degrees F
-5 to 120 ° F
-5 to 120 ° F
14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit

Many of the most important home security systems now offer their own video doorbells, and some offer compatibility with standalone video doorbells and keyboards like these. Remember, if you think you want to expand to a complete system later.

Oh, and would you like more tips on choosing the right video doorbell? Megan Wollerton of CNET treated you .

  Bell Video Doorbell Two-2 "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/qAsjNmo6F92m8DXuyiQ32-v009k=/2017/06/29/69b9c94f-d53f-473a-b8dc-9d627160224a /ring-video-doorbell-two-2.jpg[19659201[ring-video-doorbell-two-2[19659202[Ringmakesanumberofpopularvideodoorbellsthatareviewvalues​​[196659041] Chris Monroe / CNET
<h2> 	  Other options we've tested </h2>
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One of your latest options, the August view, looks great and the DIY installation was wonderfully simple, but the mobile app was annoyingly sloppy when we tried the live Display feed. That's the last thing you want when someone just picks up a package from your porch. Total CNET Score: 7.1

Read the full review.

We're big fans of the replaceable, rechargeable battery in this version of the popular ring video doorbell – though it also makes it a little bulkier than average. If it fits on your door frame, it's a great choice that goes well with Alexa and IFTTT. Total CNET Score: 7.4

Read the full review.

Intelligent Outdoor Lighting

Many of us use motion-activated lights on our porch or in front of our garage door – and while there is much debate about whether or not exterior lighting can actually help deter intrusion, most experts agree that it does can help play a role if used properly. If you are planning on upgrading to a smarter product than this cheap porch, you should consider some options.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The mix of motion-activated intelligent outdoor luminaires from Ring offers a great deal of flexibility for the exterior of your home. The collection includes both hardwired and battery powered exterior spotlights and headlamps, trail lights, step lights and a conversion kit that lets you optimize your existing landscape lighting to sync with everything else.

What's great about Ring's? Intelligent outdoor lights have built-in motion detectors that can trigger one of your lights, some of your lights, or all of your lights to turn them on. You can also trigger all external ring cameras in your setup to start recording.

Some of the lights may look a bit cheap for my taste, but I really like the battery-powered ring pathlights, which you can stake out anywhere on your property could benefit from a watchful eye. A starter kit with two pathlights and the ring bridge costs $ 80. So it's not too expensive to shop, check if you like it, and build your setup from there. According to Ring, solar powered versions are also in progress, but I do not expect to see them until 2020.

Read more about CNET.

Other options we tested

Chris Monroe / CNET

The outdoor lights from Philips Hue are, in my opinion, mostly overpriced and really only valuable when You are ready to be pampered. Nevertheless, I really liked the Philips Hue outdoor sensor, which you can buy for less than $ 50. Mount it outdoors anywhere and track movement, temperature, and ambient light conditions. You can use this information to trigger your Hue lights and Apple HomeKit gadgets under your roof.

I wish the Hue team offered a wider selection of outdoor practical lights that would not break the bank, as well as lights with their own motion sensors – but if you've already shopped or if you're using Apple HomeKit-compatible lights, the Hue outdoor sensor is definitely worth a look.

Read more about CNET.

Ry Crist / CNET

If you use Alexa to control the smart lights in your home, try Alexa Guard, a relatively new safety program for her Home mode with some nice tricks. After you've turned on Protection Mode in the settings of the Alexa app, just say "Alexa, I'll go" as you go out the door to activate it. From there, Alexa turns your lights on and off so it looks like you're home. You'll also receive notification when your echo speakers hear an alarm or broken glass.

Don & # 39; You do not have an Alexa Smart Lighting setup yet? Right now, you get a third-generation Echo Dot bundled with a two-bulb sengled starter kit for just $ 50.

Read more about CNET.

Originally released earlier this year. Updated when we rate new products.

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